x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

15 years jail for Zack Shahin as Dubai court convicts on Dh20m bribes charge

The former Deyaar chief executive approved various contracts in return for huge sums of money during his tenure at the company between 2004 and 2007, rules Dubai Criminal Court.

Zack Shahin, the former Deyaar chief executive, is sentenced to 15 years in prison for misusing his powers. Photo courtesy of Save Zack Shahin
Zack Shahin, the former Deyaar chief executive, is sentenced to 15 years in prison for misusing his powers. Photo courtesy of Save Zack Shahin

DUBAI // Zack Shahin, the former Deyaar chief executive, was yesterday sentenced to 15 years in prison after being found guilty of taking Dh20 million in bribes.

The Criminal Court ruled the Lebanese American, 48, had approved various contracts in return for the money during his tenure at the developer between 2004 and 2007.

Three others charged with aiding and abetting Shahin, and with taking Dh10m in bribes, were each sentenced to 10 years in prison.

All four were fined Dh28,556,535 in total and ordered to repay the same amount to Deyaar, but were acquitted of forging bills.

Shahin, who was returned to the UAE from Yemen, has 15 days to appeal against the verdict.

He still faces two charges, including one of jumping bail.

The court also ordered he be deported after completing his prison term.

The other three defendants were K?M, 61, an Argentinian partner at Ambiance Technology; F?L, a Canadian project manager at Thermo; and A?S, the British director general of Thermo.

The two Thermo staff, who are at large, were found guilty of embezzling Dh500,000 each from their company. They were each fined Dh500,000 and ordered to repay the company the same amount.

The court heard the pair won three contracts from Deyaar, the first in June 2005 for U1 and U2 towers in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, worth Dh71m.

The second was in February 2006 for a tower in the Business Bay area worth Dh76m, and the third was for the Metropolis Tower in the Business Bay area, worth Dh55m.

A projects evaluation manager at Thermo testified that the bids for the contracts were prepared by A?S and F?L before being sent to Shahin.

The manager said all senior figures at the company were directed not to work directly with Deyaar but to leave all interaction to A?S and F?L.

An audit of the companies’ records and the bank accounts of the defendants found that amounts of more than Dh30m had been transferred to them.

The director of the Financial Audit Department testified that he found cheques issued to Shahin and uncovered a number of incriminating international money transfers.

Shahin had spent nearly five years in detention and K?M three years when both were granted bail in July 2011, after a hunger strike by Shahin.

As part of the bail conditions, Shahin posted a Dh4.7m surety but both promptly fled the country. Shahin was arrested in Yemen and returned to custody in the UAE. K?M remains at large.

In February the court cleared Shahin and the German M?G, 44, of intentionally causing a loss of public funds while renting a building.

They were accused of renting a residential building owned by Dubai International Financial Centre’s former governor, the Emirati O?B, for more than it was worth, incurring a loss of Dh4.5m to the company between 2008 and 2010.

salamir@thenational.ae